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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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Reducing Risk Factors in Retail and Food Service: Maricopa County, Arizona Environmental Health Division - Carnitas

FDA/CFSAN is posting this document as a service to viewers of the November 30, 2006 satellite broadcast:
"Reducing Risk Factors in Retail and Food Service".

Maricopa County, Arizona Environmental Health Division


View video on the web:  English  |  Spanish
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Carnitas is very a popular Mexican dish. This product is served in most carnicerias here in Maricopa County. Carnitas is made of pork cuts from the shoulder, or rump.

Preparation techniques and cuts of meat may vary depending on the establishment.

As an observation, some facilities may trim the skin off of the pork shoulder or rump and use these trimmings to make chicharrones con carne

Traditionally, carnicerias do not process meats inside a working cold room.

Therefore, special attention to times, temperatures and the frequency of cleaning food contact surfaces should be observed.

As you have been observing the pork roasts are cut into smaller pieces prior to deep-frying. Sizes of the cuts may also vary from one carniceria to the next.

Once the carnitas have been cut they are deep-fried in a large vat.

This cooking process may take anywhere from one to two hours depending on the size of the product used.

The final cooking temperature of this product as a minimum should be a 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.

The carnitas are removed from the deep frying vat and are strained of any remaining grease.

The product is then placed in the display case for sale.

Remember that as a minimum this product should be held hot at 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

  Download video stream for use offline: English (34 Mb)  |  Spanish (29 Mb)

Note: Although the files linked here are compressed to the maximum capability of standard compression software, it is to be understood that video is inherently a very data-intensive medium. Therefore, the files are large (34 Megabytes and 29 Megabytes) and will take a long time to download over a dial-up connection.